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News in Brief 12 November 2020

News in Brief 12 November 2020

This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.

Neglected tropical diseases: Countries endorse new targets to eradicate 20 killers 

A bold new blueprint to tackle all neglected tropical diseases has been agreed at the UN health agency’s World Health Assembly. 

It will involve a radical shift in approach by governments and local communities, who should have greater involvement in disease eradication programmes, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said. 

The freshly-inked roadmap sets global targets and milestone to prevent, control, eliminate and eradicate 20 neglected tropical diseases and disease groups, which affect hundreds of millions of people.  

The 2030 targets include a 90 per cent reduction in the number of people requiring treatment for neglected tropical diseases, and a call to eradicate dracunculiasis – also known as Guinea-worm disease - and the chronic skin disease yaws, that affects mainly children below 15 years of age.  

The campaign replaces the first blueprint that was published in 2012; its targets will not be achieved, despite significant progress, WHO said.  

Landmine toll still high amid concerns over COVID-19 impact 

Thousands of people continue to be killed and injured every year by landmines and explosive weapons in conflicts around the world, while the COVID-19 pandemic has forced mine-clearance efforts to be scaled back. 

According to the latest Landmine Monitor, a UN-backed civil society report, more than 2,200 people were killed and some 3,300 injured in the last year. 

Nearly half were children, said the Monitor’s Loren Persi, at a virtual press conference moderated by the UN Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) in Geneva.   

He said that it was likely that there were “many, many more casualties” as people who were injured by landmines and explosive remnants of war “were not being recorded” in many countries affected by conflict. 

In the last year, the only confirmed use of antipersonnel landmines by State forces was by Myanmar, according to the Monitor. 

But non-State armed groups have also used antipersonnel mines in at least six countries: Afghanistan, Colombia, India, Libya, Myanmar, and Pakistan. 

Today, more than 80 per cent of the world –164 countries – have adopted the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, and most of the 33 countries that are not bound by it as signatories still respect it. 

Philippines hit by sixth major storm in five weeks 

A new relief effort is under way once again in the Philippines after another major storm struck the country – the sixth to hit in five weeks. 

The capital, Manila, is among the worst affected areas, as it was directly in the path of Typhoon Ulysses, that struck early morning on Thursday. 

Kristin Dadey, Chief of Mission of UN migration agency IOM in the Philippines, described raging floodwaters in central Manila and cars being carried downstream: 

“This is the third major typhoon in three weeks so its exacerbated the situation for sure. Now this recent one which came through last night, that had the additional impact on Manila. And Manila was not as impacted from the first two typhoons, last week and the week before, but it’s been hit hard with this one, with a lot of flooding, people are still being evacuated, they don’t have enough rescue boats, they are pulling in more rescue boats to bring people out, the Government is jus t doing an amazing job – and the Red Cross - of additional rescues. They’re bringing in a lot more rescue boats.” 

It was too early to estimate the impact, Ms. Dadey added, noting that the “damage is massive”. Government and humanitarians are helping affected populations. 

Ten days ago, Super Typhoon Goni caused widespread flooding in southern regions; they’ve been hit very hard once again, and people have been evacuated multiple times.  

Daniel Johnson, UN News. 

  • Neglected tropical diseases: Countries endorse new targets to eradicate 20 killers 

  • Landmine toll still high amid concerns over COVID-19 impact 

  • Philippines hit by sixth major storm in five weeks 

Audio Credit
Daniel Johnson, UN News - Geneva
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